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Easter...Then and Now
by Kelly Gottschalk on April 15th, 2011

The Easter Bunny. Family. Big lunch with a delicious ham. Candy. Dyeing eggs. Easter basket goodies. Fun. These are the things that come to my mind when I think of the Easters I celebrated back then while I was growing up. I’m sure my parents mentioned Jesus somewhere in all of that, but it just wasn’t a priority in our lives at that time. I do remember venturing to church a few times on Easter and feeling very uncomfortable because of the church service and the incredibly frilly dress my parents made me wear.
Don’t get me wrong. I had wonderful parents and still do. They were very loving and supportive. They definitely taught us right from wrong. They believed strongly in helping others and giving of yourself. They even believed in God and doing the right thing so that you could spend eternity in heaven with Him. Both of them worked full time, but they made time to spend with me and my brothers, usually on Sundays. That was our family day where we slept in, had breakfast together, participated in different family events and ended the evening with a steak dinner. So many great memories. My parents were pretty darn perfect other than their lack of having a relationship with Christ.
It wasn’t until later in life after I was married that I realized there was more to Easter. My husband and I had moved to the “buckle” of the Bible belt and we were far away from our family and friends. We were very lonely and decided that we needed some friends. He had grown up in church and knew church would be a good place to find new friends. We definitely found a great set of friends there, but I had no clue that would be where I would meet my best friend, Jesus. I accepted Christ into my life and even though people may not have seen a drastic outward change, my heart was changed forever. Even though some of my actions may have been the same at that point, I was now doing the things Christ put on my heart because I knew how much He loved me and sacrificed for me.
There have been many times since I became a believer that I had really wished that I would have become a Christian at an earlier age. Many times, I believed lies like I wasn’t as “spiritual” as the other people in church. I also struggled when I became part of the staff here because, in my mind, I could very easily feel inferior to people who had been raised in church and had been on this staff, or other church staffs, for many years. I wondered why this was His plan for me. Then one day, God revealed to me His reasoning. Because of my position here, I am able to spend a lot of time with preschool moms. The preschool moms that I have gotten to know have not only been from our church, but our MOPS ministry and Canyon Creek Preschool. So many of the women have the same story as me. They are living life as a good person, but not realizing that they are missing the reason we should live a life that is honoring to God. God is amazing like that. He uses each of our stories to reach out to others around us. He knew exactly what my calling would be later in life and knew how He could connect me with the many women and their families that filter through the preschool ministry here at The Church at Canyon Creek. I look forward to the discussions I will have with these families over the next few weeks as we approach the Easter season. My thoughts about Easter now: My risen Savior. His sacrifice. My sin. Immeasurable grace and mercy. Gratefulness for my parents now growing in their faith. Urgency to tell others about Him.


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